Wednesday, October 17, 2012

John Wesley on Elections

What would John Wesley have to say about our upcoming elections?

Actually, he did have something to say. I saw this posted by a friend in social media recently and simply had to share it. It is from John Wesley's Journal, dated October 6, 1774. He was speaking of elections in England, of course. I pray that we hold fast to the same spirit today.

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

It troubles me when the grand opportunity for civil discussion and voting responsibly as a good citizen, a holy privilege for all of us, degenerates into name calling, demonizing, and black and white thinking. Perhaps we should take Wesley's word seriously and stand for love, compassion, and civil discourse. If our spirits are "sharpened" against those who vote the other way, it is unhealthy for the soul.

My trust is not in whoever is elected or in one party over another. My trust is in God, as revealed in the person of Christ. The rest is simply the best we can come up with, so I participate as a responsible citizen and believe in the principles of democracy, but know my allegiance truly lies in the kingdom of God.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Clicking of Her Coffee Cup

It is such a joy to lead Evening Prayer at the Piano on Sunday nights. It’s a place where we can lift simple gifts of music and song, hear a brief homily or exhortation, and share the weekly feast of communion. It is warm and vibrant and personal. In some ways, it feels more like the ancient ways of worship for most Christians in history than what many churches do on Sunday mornings.

Last night, I shared a story about my mother with the people gathered. When I was young and growing up with three brothers, our house could definitely be rowdy at times. Yet one place of calm in the daily storm of activity was that my mother always carved out her morning quiet time.

That’s what she called it, simply “quiet time.” She insisted on it. Every morning for at least 45 minutes, after the morning rush to get my older brothers off to school but before she settled into the day, she sat with her coffee. She had sacred space for this holy time … she sat in a particular upholstered rocking chair with brown and rust colored stripes in the kitchen. As a child, I can remember the sound of her coffee cup clicking against the saucer. That was the sound of prayer, because when I heard that clicking from other parts of the house I knew Mom was still having her time alone.

We learned as children that unless it was an emergency, we didn’t bother Mom during her quiet time. We also learned that because of this, she was always really, really good to us the rest of the day! What I didn’t realize until I was older was that Mom was giving me a gift. She was a witness to her love of God by making time with God a priority in her life. She was ingraining in my own life and habits the hunger of the heart.

Some of the other participants at Evening Prayer last night, who happened to remember my mom from her involvement in the Walk to Emmaus, shared some of their memories of her speaking and leading and encouraging women. She had a ministry both within and beyond the local church. It warmed my heart to hear how she had touched some of them long ago.

But today, I am not thinking of the four UMW special recognition pins I inherited from her or all her many accomplishments and speaking engagements. I am simply hearing the clicking of her coffee cup on the saucer, and letting that strangely sweet, holy sound of prayerfulness resonate in my soul.